Microneedling is all the rage. But WTF is it? This popular skin care procedure involves sticking tiny needles into your skin, and it might leave you with firmer, smoother, or clearer skin.

Here’s the 411 on all things microneedling.

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Microneedling (aka collagen induction therapy) is a minimally invasive skin treatment in which a practitioner will prick your skin with tiny needles.

It can help:

  • make pores look smaller and reduce fine lines
  • minimize stretch marks and acne scars
  • make skin firmer, smoother, more toned, and younger-looking

Microneedling runs anywhere from $100 to $700 per treatment. According to microneedling device manufacturer Dermapen, the average face session costs about $300.

The cost of a single sesh depends on:

  • prices in your area
  • how many sessions you want to buy
  • the amount of skin you want worked on

Bummer alert: Since microneedling is a cosmetic procedure, it’s not covered by insurance. Def talk with your healthcare provider to see what treatment is best for your skin and your wallet.

The tiny pricks from the needles cause minor injuries to your skin. Studies have shown that this pumps up your skin’s collagen production, which can result in firmer skin that’s more even in texture and tone.

Procedure deets

Here’s a play-by-play of what to expect at your appointment:

  1. About an hour before the treatment, you’ll be given a topical anesthetic. This reduces the chance of discomfort.
  2. Your provider will move a pen-like tool across the targeted areas. This creates tiny pricks under your skin. (Don’t worry — the pricks are so tiny you prob won’t even notice them after the procedure.)
  3. Your provider might apply a calming serum or ointment to reduce inflammation.
  4. Voilà!

FYI: It usually takes 4 to 6 sessions to see results. The average session is about 30 minutes long.

Microneedling prep

Prepping for a microneedling treatment is pretty basic. You just have to avoid certain things before the procedure, including:

  • sunburn
  • acne medication
  • topical acne treatments
  • ibuprofen (which can thin your blood)
  • retinoids (since they can cause irritation)

Pro tip: Have a chat with your healthcare provider before your treatment. They can go over what to expect in terms of results and recovery time.

Microneedling aftercare

Since microneedling isn’t hella invasive, you prob aren’t in for a difficult recovery. In fact, some people don’t need any rebound time at all.

You might notice some irritation, redness, and increased sensitivity for a few days after your treatment. This is just your skin’s way of bouncing back from the treatment,

PSA: Your skin will be a lot more sun-sensitive until you fully recover. Be sure to load up on sunscreen after the procedure. ☀️

People turn to microneedling as a treatment for:

OK, but how does it improve those issues? Here’s a more complete breakdown:

Acne scars

Acne scars are nothing to be ashamed of. But if you wanna get rid of them, microneedling might help.

In a small 2015 study, 10 participants received 6 microneedling sessions at 2-week intervals. They saw noticeable improvements after just 1 month of treatment and even better results after 3 months.

In a 2014 study with 60 participants, acne scars were reduced by about 31 percent after 3 microneedling sessions.

Bonus: Microneedling is less invasive and less risky than other acne scar treatments (like laser treatments and chemical peels).

Stretch marks

In terms of microneedling, most popular place is the face. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give the rest of your bod some needle lovin’ too!

Microneedling can be a very effective remedy for stretch marks. A 2017 study found that it reduced participants’ stomach and thigh stretch marks when combined with fillers.

Hair loss

Microneedling might give your locks new luscious life.

In a 2013 study of 100 men who were experiencing hair loss, one group received twice-a-day 5 percent minoxidil (hair growth solution) lotion and a weekly microneedling treatment, while the second group was given only the minoxidil lotion.

The group that got both the lotion and the microneedling showed better results at the end of the 12-week study.

But TBH, there’s not enough evidence to prove microneedling on its own can help with hair loss.

In general, microneedling is super safe if done correctly. The most common side effect is skin irritation and redness for a few days afterward. But like all cosmetic treatments, microneedling comes with some risks.

Possible serious side effects include:

  • peeling
  • bruising
  • bleeding
  • infection

Keep in mind that microneedling isn’t for everyone. Don’t get this treatment if you:

If your needle phobia is too legit to quit — or if you just don’t think microneedling is right for you — you have other options.

The most important thing is that you have a stellar skin care routine. Lots of affordable products can reduce acne, scarring, wrinkles, and all the other skin issues microneedling is known to address.

Other popular skin care treatments include:

You can also opt for an at-home dermaroller device. But according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you def won’t get the same results as you would with a professional treatment.

Microneedling is a skin care treatment that involves puncturing your skin with tiny needles. It can be used to address everything from minor fine lines to deep acne scars. Just be sure to talk with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s really right for you.